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How Do I Ward Off Emotional Vampires?

Dear Chump Lady,

I left my ex-fiancé a few years ago just as our daughter was born (standard cheater asshole) and amidst him marrying and having a child with someone else within less than a year of that, I suppose he got tired of her too, and sought to reconcile with me. I was not too keen on the idea, but as he is the father, I agreed to give him a chance under the condition he went to counseling and stopped being a drunk. It looked like things were shaping up nicely in fact, which I was surprised by, when suddenly last March he announced he had moved 2000 miles away and was having another baby with what I thought was his ex-wife, but actually he never had divorced her.

Luckily, he is not the topic of this email and never will be. I have no feelings hard or soft for him, just “meh”. We talk here and there, nothing to report and never will be. The problem on hand was our therapist. As he was helping me unravel myself from my ex who he flat out told me to “never marry” and stay away from, I, as a wounded, vulnerable and recently single mother began to see my therapist as this perfect man (for me) I had been looking for my whole life. It hit me one day that all these qualities he was teaching me to look for in men, turned out to be exactly himself. Not to mention he commented my attractiveness here and there. Those were the good days it seemed.

I got the nerve and realized for the best therapeutic benefit I needed was to tell him my feelings. He was married, I assumed happily (who wouldn’t be happy with such a wonderful guy?) so what’s the risk, I thought. If you experience transference, tell them, I read. So I tell him I’m attracted to him and he just comes undone. Voice shaking, tells me he can’t see me anymore. Then texts at 5 a.m. the next day asking me to come in. I went. I was crazy about him. We had an affair for a few months. He asked me to wait for him as he was going to leave his wife in a few months. I said of course. He seemed sure that we were right for each other and he claimed he thought about me all the time, the usual over the top romantic stuff.

The few months came and went, and I didn’t hear from him. I decided to reach out to him and saw him once, but I could tell he really wanted nothing to do with me. He is in fact single now, and I feel like an idiot for chasing after him wanting him to pick me. Oh, he was found on a dating app too. I don’t have great feelings left for him, and he’s blocked in my phone and I don’t go to our gym on the days I know he will be there. It’s not that I need to be talked out of feelings for him — he’s a piece of shit. I know. But I’m frankly scared at this point, having had these things happen back to back. The level of manipulation my ex went through to claim me, years of conning, followed by this has left me in the dumps. I don’t know how find men that aren’t cheaters and perpetual manipulators. I don’t trust men hardly at all, yet I keep plugging away but, again, I’m scared. I’m a mother now and can’t be going through things like this.

Please give some tips to ward off these vampires,

Frankly Scared

Dear Frankly Scared,

You propositioned your married therapist. And it kinda sounds like you were the Other Woman in your relationship with the ex.

Perhaps the vampire here is you?

I mean, by all means report this unethical quack to the licensing board. But WTF, Frankly?

I left my ex-fiancé a few years ago just as our daughter was born (standard cheater asshole) and amidst him marrying and having a child with someone else

So, it sounds like he had another fiancé. Were you aware of that?

within less than a year of that, I suppose he got tired of her too, and sought to reconcile with me.

So, you certainly know now he’s a cheater.

I was not too keen on the idea, but as he is the father, I agreed to give him a chance under the condition he went to counseling and stopped being a drunk.

Wow, what a winner. Why would you want that guy around your child? He’s got a wife, two baby mamas, and a drinking problem.

You say you don’t trust men, but you realize you have a broken picker, right? RIGHT? Vampires are a menace, I get it, but you’re out there at midnight knocking on Transylvanian castle doors advertising your delicious, blood-filled neck.

You don’t have to traffic in monsters.

I know I’m supposed to read this next part as you valiantly try to save your relationship, only to be preyed upon by yet another monster…

I, as a wounded, vulnerable and recently single mother began to see my therapist as this perfect man

That’s transference. But we don’t have to act on our feelings. Because, as humans, we’re going to have a lot of irrational feelings at any given time, and we usually have an internal referee going, “STOP!” or “NO! Do not slap that unmasked man in the grocery store!”

But you took the magic carpet ride of your feelings and you acted on them. Why? So he’ll comment on your attractiveness again? Those comments on your appearance should’ve skeeved you out coming from your THERAPIST. So inappropriate!

Those were the good days it seemed.

No! Not good!

I got the nerve and realized for the best therapeutic benefit I needed was to tell him my feelings.

Aigh! Don’t open that door!

He was married, I assumed happily (who wouldn’t be happy with such a wonderful guy?) so what’s the risk, I thought. If you experience transference, tell them, I read.

Okay, I’m calling bullshit here. I don’t think you told him for any therapeutic benefit or because you read something. I think you wanted him to want you, and you pursued that. AND, I absolutely see that this man was in an authoritative position and should never, EVER have taken you up on those feelings of yours. Which makes him a monster. But girl, you gotta learn to RUN from monsters.

I was crazy about him. We had an affair for a few months.

Any consideration of his chump wife here? In our first paragraph, you want me to understand that you’ve been chumped by a cheater. And then you dish it out to someone else? This is where you lost me.

he was going to leave his wife in a few months. I said of course.

Wow.

he really wanted nothing to do with me.

You got thrown under the bus.

Oh, he was found on a dating app too.

You mean YOU found him on a dating app.

I’m frankly scared at this point, having had these things happen back to back.

You have agency. A piano didn’t fall out of the sky and flatten you. You got involved with a married man (twice) and it blew up on you. You won the pick me dance, then lost the pick me dance, and now think all men are turds.

Examine your character. Ask yourself why you keep making these self-destructive choices. Do this for your daughter, because you do NOT want monsters around your child.

I don’t know how find men that aren’t cheaters and perpetual manipulators.

Well, don’t ACCEPT cheaters in your life. Don’t take them back, don’t proposition them, and don’t reward them. As for manipulation, don’t need validation so badly that you’ll sell your soul to get it. And be disgusted that you’d conspire in another woman’s abuse for kibbles. Manipulation works if you buy what they’re selling. Learn boundaries and how to enforce them. Work on your self-worth.

And maybe find a therapist you aren’t attracted to, and spend a good long time getting proper mental health care.

As for vampires — garlic, crucifixes, sunlight.

Ask Chump Lady

Got a question for the Chump Lady? Or a submission for the Universal Bullshit Translator? Write to me at info@chumplady.com. Read more about submission guidelines.
  • “I don’t know how to find men who aren’t cheaters” says the home wrecker who has carried out affairs with married men.

    • She wants to know why she keeps ending up with cheaters…after knowingly propositioning….I mean confessing her feelings for…her therapist, who’s married, which would make him a cheater if he took her up on it….which he did! She contributed to him being a cheater and wants to know why she ends up with cheaters!?!? Is this even real?????

      • Yep, the letter is very self-serving. It reminds me of the old “Don’t hate me because I am beautiful” commercials.

        She is just so attractive that men cannot resist her.

        • WTF???

          A woman who claims to be a chump turns around and chumps other women – and then whines about cheaters…which is what SHE is.

          I have nothing to add to CL’s reply. God help us all if this is what these OW’s think…

    • In situations where perps pretend to have character, be faithful, etc., they’re likely to bamboozle someone with character and who’s faithful, etc. But in the case where the other individual knows the object of their affection is a liar, cheat, etc., it’s verging on hybristophilia– attraction to crooks, cheats, liars, thieves, etc., aka prison groupie-ism. Both cheaters and witting proxy cheaters are apparently high in dark personality traits in any case. https://kb.osu.edu/bitstream/handle/1811/81900/Mate_Poaching_and_the_Dark_Triad.pdf?sequence=1&isAllowed=y

      I would imagine that not being a dark triad type is a good start to not attract dark triad types. People tend to either be blind to or to whitewash negative traits they share in other people. That can also happen due to naivete but if you know the FW is married to start with, the alibi of being snowed doesn’t exactly apply.

    • THANK you! I finished reading her drivel and thought how I give zero fucks for this cheater. Did she wrote for more kibble?

  • Okay, I left the ax and have been living on my own for 16 months. But, there is this guy that I know because he delivered something for me which requires a local supplier and delivery source. And we began communicating by text. I have experienced the following red flags:

    He has shown me pictures of his house by text and it is a total rat’s nest. I am not even kidding. I do not need to clean someone else’s house.

    He has said things that are racist. This is a total stop or should be if I was sane.

    He has very strong political beliefs that do not jive with mine.

    And conspiracy theories…

    Is very charming.

    So the last line causes me to consider putting all of those red flags aside. I’m not even lonely, why would I even consider this. I don’t even know this person. Here’s what I think:

    I’m used to living in chaos. And because I’m used to living in chaos I kind of can’t live without it. My life is pretty good right now but some part of me, some screwed up part of me wants to draw some chaos back into it.

    I’m fighting this with all my heart. Blocked on my phone and not on my social media at all so all I need to find is a new delivery person now. How is it that my brain can be so reasonable but the emotional side of me can be so stupid?

    • He feels very, very familiar and comfortable.

      I’m now really careful when I experience ‘instant attraction’. It’s usually coming from an unhealthy part of me.

    • One of my favorite quotes from Ron Swanson on Parks and Rec:

      “Far be it from me to tell you what to do with your life, but don’t confuse drama with happiness.”

      He’s telling this to Donna who is used to running through men like candy, unstable men, and a lot of drama and partying. She has met a stable, kind, healthy man who loves and wants to be with her loyally. She is considering running off and going back to her old ways because she thinks the drama made her happy. Ron approaches her and says her boyfriend seems like a great person. She hesitates, and he tells her the above quote because he can tell she is used to the familiarity of dramatic emotional roller coasters with unhealthy men.

      She ends up marrying the stable guy after taking Ron’s advice.

      Familiarity might be comfortable, but that doesn’t mean it’s good for you, nor does it mean it’s the same thing as being happy.

      • I would just add the side note that I don’t think the subconscious goal is self-destruction. That’s a red herring common in pop-psych and RIC– the blame-splitting masochism drivel. People raised in dysfunctional environments are often subjected to the isolating “us and them” scarem (abusive partners do this all the time too) and may deeply fear that anything unfamiliar might be even *worse* than what they know– as in deadly. However dysfunctional someone’s background, if they live to tell, the logic is that there can always be something worse.

        Reprogramming that kind of brainwashing is extremely difficult, especially when the message from society and pop-psych runs counter to gaining real wisdom, discernment and boundaries. You almost have to radicalize to make that transition. Not exactly the most traveled path and certain to attract social flak.

        Anyway, I just want to give credit to anyone who does reprogram themselves.

        • I also think people choose chaos as a means of self – avoidance, not self-harm. If you are consumed with what’s in front of you, you are less consumed by what’s inside of you.

    • Neural pathways in the brain. To process trauma/abuse and form new habits/thinking patterns means the pathways must be rewired. It takes doing the right things/making healthy choices over and over again, which you are. And your sympathetic nervous system is heavily involved. Anxiety patients experience this a lot. The brain knows there is absolutely no danger, but the body responds differently, sometimes resulting in panic attacks.
      It takes, in my opinion, a long time to recover after being horribly betrayed and abused by a spouse or fiance. Sometimes therapy is required, sometimes it is not. I do not believe professional therapy benefits us all.
      I had anxiety during and after X. We all have had it. While I never had severe, clinical anxiety, my daughter suffers from GAD. Nerves are very complicated…and fascinating.

      • I think therapy is crucial, but bad therapy can be devastating. I know that I needed therapy for my therapy. I found a good one finally. Trust your instincts. If it does not seem right it probably is not.

        • Spoonriver is dead on. Also, it’s wise to understand yourself and your vulnerabilities. I learned years ago that male therapists are not going to work for me (possibilities of transference and other issues). Instead of acting on an impulse, I quit seeing them and now only go to female therapists. They are a better fit for me anyway. Bad therapy is a LOT worse than no therapy at all.

    • He’s a disorganised (or low standards/lazy) guy who says racist things but ‘is very charming’. That terrified me. I distrust ‘charming’ now.

      • It makes me wonder why I felt that way. I think it’s because he used the words sweetheart and honey a lot. Part of me was craving that. I need to stamp that part out and set it on fire.

        • ” I think it’s because he used the words sweetheart and honey a lot. Part of me was craving that.”

          I can understand that. The words we want to hear are very seductive. The trick is not to focus on the words, but the actions. Or in this case, the *values* which you already see are not yours. xx

        • I gently disagree Muthachumper. I don’t think you need to stamp it out. If this is important to you, it is important to you. This is good knowledge to have about yourself and what will satisfy your soul. There is certainly nothing objectively wrong with enjoying someone directing a term of endearment your way.
          I think the trouble comes from being willing to look the other way on some obvious red flags because some of the boxes on your checklist have been ticked off.
          I think Mr. Racist/disorganized/conspiracy theorist is a milestone in your journey of self-discovery. This shit takes a while.

          Fixin’ pickers ain’t for sissies. You are doing great, keep coming here.

          • >>I don’t think you need to stamp it out. If this is important to you, it is important to you.

            I agree. Feeding your healthy side is a good thing, and it sounds like it’s hungry. Maybe setting a goal to find this nutrient of the soul from another quarter? It might not necessarily be romantic validation, maybe start with just more validation from friends or a shared hobby.

            I went through a time period where I had to “prove” I didn’t need validation from my family/others, which went badly in some ways, even though I really needed to clear out my family’s voice in my head. That kind of thing can easily turn into self destruction without a constructive goal plus strong validation from another quarter.

          • You have a point. Abusers are shape shifters and “good egg” impersonators. If someone is going to expend that much energy pretending to be someone they’re not, I think it’s logical they’d choose to impersonate the very best.

            So sometimes it’s a case of biomimicry. DV experts report that abusers channel far more energy into image management and are much better at it than average people, so that’s a clue. The traits they ape may be legit in a legit person which is why there’s no replacement for taking the time to really vet new people to see if they’re the real deal or talented impersonators.

    • >> I’m not even lonely, why would I even consider this.

      I wonder if he is like one of your parents. Sometimes it’s getting vicarious parental approval from someone just like them. I have found that to be a wild card factor. Shrug.

    • I’m late getting to this, but FIX YOUR PICKER. You don’t want a racist in your life. You don’t want someone who believes in crackpot conspiracies. You don’t want someone whose political views are VERY STRONG but that conflict with yours. You never, ever want to co-habit with someone who lives in a rat’s nest or a pig’s sty. [I adore the kind man I date, but his idea of housekeeping and mine don’t fit].

      I can’t speak for anyone else, but I’m allergic to “charm.” Think of what the word “charm” means–someone is casting a spell on you to prevent you from seeing reality.

      We’ve been dealing with COVID for, what? almost the whole time you’ve been on your own. Like all of the rest of us, you’re lonely in the existential sense–you miss human contact. ROMANCE IS NOT THE ONLY SOLUTION TO LONELINESS. Start finding other people to communicate with during the day and even consider just walking in the park everyday to get a sense of human contact going.

      And make a list of the characteristics you want in someone: kindness, honesty, good character, shared values, generosity, reciprocity, sense of human. I always add “smells good,” has good hygiene, and likes movies.

  • I’m always cautious of people who tell me stories in which everything bad that happened is someone else’s fault.

    Acknowledging your own genuine fuck-ups and failures in character is one of those paths to the truth and the light.

    • ^^^ Yes, this. Even if you conclude that other people’ actions played a big role, a thoughtful person doesn’t externalize *everything*. And they at least acknowledge the actual choices they made, as I note in my comment below.

      • I know what you mean and this is true in many typical social situations. But as a former victim advocate, I’d have to argue that sometimes it’s genuinely one-sided. One thing that dv and rape victims often encounter from bystanders and mainstream helping professions is pressure to take “partial blame” for assault. The public is appeased because most people tend to harbor the “safe world” fallacy– this idea that God is in his heaven and only good things happen to good people. If it were to turn out that bad things sometimes happen to good people who did nothing to deserve it, then no one is safe.

        Oprah loves having regretful victims on her show lamenting how their dysfunctional voodoo tractor beams attracted abuse to themselves or whatever. Maybe true for some individuals (hybristophiliacs, prison groupies, etc). But, statistically, it’s not the case with all or even most victims of abuse. Perps have varying taste in prey and, according to dv expert Lenore Walker, even skew towards healthy prey.

        • Yes, I hear you Hell, and that’s why I was trying to word things carefully. I don’t regret a single thing I’ve done in my marriage, before or after D-Day, and I won’t countenance anyone trying to blame me for my own abuse. BUT, I can still speak thoughtfully about the choices that I made for myself, given external circumstances. I hope it’s not the case that I would present myself as a totally passive victim, as some disordered people do. A bright line for me is when people suggest that they were not making choices at all – that was STBX’s line after D-Day #2. The phrase I’ve used a lot in my own life is choices “under constraint,”
          which I feel is much more accurate.

        • I have experienced this first hand. Not always but sometimes my ex used to get violent when drunk. I remember one time we had friends over for drinks and he shouted at me for not taking my (new, clean) boots off as I ran into our bedroom to get something. I took them off , saying something like “Jesus, no need to shout!” he picked them up and clobbered me round the head with them.
          I lashed out an arm to protect myself and he then punched me in the face.
          The friends who were there at the time characterized this as us “fighting because we were both drunk”. Er, no. He attacked me for no reason and I was defending myself.
          I know why those friends said this: because otherwise they would then have to admit their great friend was physically abusing me, instead they could write it off as a “domestic”. I left him not long afterwards. Of course the official story was that it was all my fault.

          • “… he shouted at me for not taking my (new, clean) boots off as I ran into our bedroom to get something.”

            This is exactly the sort of petty, ridiculous thing the ex fuckwit used to fly into tantrums over.

            Shit, brings back some memories! ((hugs)) xx

    • It reminds me of my ex wife’s former step father who was a major domestic abuser from violence to cheating to withholding money etc. Woman’s aid and social services got my ex wife’s mother away from him and into a new home and he blamed everyone else for this. Everything was that her daughters hated him as he was the step father and we all conspired to get her away. Bewildered at the logic he had. He also had a very low IQ level. To the outside world he pretended and still does to be mr Christian and butter wouldn’t melt in his mouth. Behind closed doors he was a monster.

      • The only people I’ve ever seen “play victim” are abusers. Actual victims tend to be humiliated at being victimized. I saw this at work. Sexual harassers are always victims of their victims. And, as rare as it is for women to fabricate false charges, it does happen occasionally. In two cases I witnessed (probably 1% of everything I witnessed over the years), I was pretty amazed at how the prevaricators managed to gain more social sympathy than *actual victims.*

        I felt like I was observing a behavioral study. Fake victims know how to let one single tear roll delicately down their cheek as they doe-eye with quivering lip faux vulnerability. The frauds attract defenders. Meanwhile, the actual victims are wild-eyed, wild-haired and ugly cry in the office bathroom alone fearing for their jobs and reputations while bystanders and “neutrals” casually disparage their credibility.

        • I believe you HOAC. It’s a hard truth to wrap our heads around. It’s so easy to forget too.

        • I agree about the victims.

          It took me over 25 years before I told anyone but my H about how my ex treated me the last couple years of our marriage. I was too embarrassed to let anyone know that I allowed it to go on. I finally told my brother just last year. It was good to let it out.

          My son now also knows because we due to a family loss we are dealing with have had a lot of time to talk, and he started asking questions. So I opened up.

    • To quote CL personal growth is generally painful and humiliating
      Yup, I used to be like that, scared to have done something wrong, so I tried to make excuses or blame others. Ah yes, FOO reinforced by a fuckwit. No one in my family ever accepted blame for anything. Taking responsibility and and being accountable was not modeled for me growing up or in my marriage. Now I get it and I’m the first to fess up when something goes wrong. If for no other reason that my kid needs to see what that is an dhow to do it. Most folks understand if you explain that I didn’t think that was going to turn out that way, or I misread the communication and thought you wanted that. I look back on a lot of screw ups and I can own them now.

  • This is yet more insight into how OWs justify their behavior.

    There’s not one bit of sympathy for the chumped wives.

    I can’t stomach this.

    • The lack of any consideration for the wives here is both telling and heartbreaking. It’s a good insight too; my X and his affair partner(s) would have been of a similar mind: no sympathy for the wife whatsoever except to consider her an obstacle.

      This is why I am as grey rock/no contact as possible with X and his now wife. Any conversation with either of them will be filled with woe is me, nothing is my fault rhetoric and I will find myself stupidly surprised again at how much they are firmly convinced that I never mattered at all (except for the tricky part of how to get rid of me).

      This report from the mind of a OW was a good read, come to think of it. It has strengthened my grey rock/no contact conviction. Open the door to contact and I’ll get a diatribe like the one above.

      • Agree!

        Our exes and OWs throw nightly pity parties, I’m sure. Over wine (lots of wine) they toast their poor, poor pitiful circumstances caused by their awful, vindictive spouses (and children). “We’ve been wronged, dammit!!! What was our crime? Love. Falling in love. Esther! Esther! Help us here. Our spouses are to blame! Waaa waaa.”

        I remember asking my ex (pre-NC) how he could look at himself in the mirror. His response? “It’s hard.” But that was when he still felt post-Dday pangs of guilt. I noticed that once we were in the full throws of the divorce–when $$$ was on the line–he hopped off the guilt train and bought a one-way ticket on the pity train. I hope it’s a rough ride. Bad scenery. No destination.

        • Yes that’s exactly where my stbx is now. Full steam ahead on the pity train. He’s tried it with one of our daughters. Her response was ‘if you put your hand in a meat grinder you’re gonna get mince’. I’m an obstacle to his new life especially as I’m going for 31 years investment payback

          • “if you put your hand in a meat grinder you’re gonna get mince’”

            That’s brilliant! 😂

            I hope you get the payback, good for you! Xx

      • “I never mattered at all (except for the tricky part of how to get rid of me).”

        As painful as that is, that is when I actually started to get angry, when I finally accepted that. What made it worse was my ex mother in law, whom I adored; started asking for all the things she had given me through the years back, she even took some things out of my yard that were gifts through the years. That pissed me off and I called the fw and told him if one more thing disappeared, I would file a police report of theft. Then that very day I called the locksmith and got my locks changed.

        She actually did me a favor, because it was when I got angry and I really needed to get angry instead of staying broken.

        But yeah, it felt like I had no value as a human; and they just needed to collect the valuables and dispose me as quickly as they could.

    • Same. I immediately picked up on her character within the first few sentences, and I felt sick reading her entire letter.

  • She slept with two married men, while she has an infant. At some point, a broken picker ends and selfish choices begin.

    • I still can’t wrap my head around sleeping with two men while you have an infant. Babies are so time intensive.

        • One of my ex husbands ho bags slept with THREE different people within a month and a half of giving birth to her third child with her husband and sent my ex photo proof of her affairs when she offered herself to him.

          It’s so incredibly disgusting. Bad enough to cheat. Bad enough to pretend to be friends with me and try to screw my husband. But her body had literally just given birth and she was stuffing random dicks into it as frantically as possible. I’m still so disgusted by it and disgusted with him that he could find that appealing. It’s grotesque and makes no sense. Two young children, an infant, her body healing from literally giving birth and her priority is having sex with strangers, hurting people who call her friends, and giving her husband diseases. Some people aren’t really human, they’re just animal scum.

      • None of these things “happened” to her. She caused them. Apparently at the expense of her child

  • I know this song, it is called ‘Me Me Me’

    To hell with the collateral damage of other adults and children

    It is not that hard to find a man who is unattached in the real and true sense.

  • Yup.

    My ex is a typical cheater asshole but I’m not a typical cheater asshole even though I fucked my married therapist because I was vulnerable.

    So nothing is my fault….I’m a poor victim. The problem isn’t that I fuck married men, it’s that I don’t know how to find good ones that don’t take advantage of poor vulnerable me.

    Seems like typical asshole cheater speak.

    I hope this one took a good hard look at herself, but somehow I’m not optimistic.

    • Right! She fucks married men, but she is the victim? Unbelievable the cognitive dissonance and blame shifting with this one. I’m still not convinced she isn’t trolling here!

  • I am hoping that the therapist BF recognized how hurtful it was to have an exit affair and is choosing not to pursue any relationship with Frankly in deference to his ex’s (and kids’?) feelings. My STBX clearly has a lot of boundary issues but at least has granted that it would be extremely hurtful ever to resume a relationship with her most recent affair partner. (And perhaps STBX now sees that AP is actively delusional – she believes she is psychic.) If I am right about the reasons BF therapist has ghosted Frankly, then perhaps the therapist is finally doing something right, and holding some healthy boundaries.

    But as for Frankly: my friend, the men in your life are NOT the vampires here. Please, please do the work on yourself, hopefully with the help of somebody who will actually hold you accountable for your actions (and to whom you are NOT attracted!). In your account, you completely skipped over the part where BOTH you AND your therapist chose to blow past a really obvious boundary in order to have an affair. Just because you were both attracted to one another, does NOT mean that it was destined to be. An emotionally healthy person who really understands the concept of transference would never willingly put themselves in that position. So pause your narrative and really examine that moment, as well as all the moments involved in Your Own Choices regarding your prior ex.

    My STBX also tried to suggest that she didn’t really have a choice when it came to her second affair, even though of course she made thousands of choices every day to be in contact with the AP. This convenient glossing over Your Own Choices is the ultimate Sad Sausage move. But then, people on the spectrum of cluster B personality disorder often externalize every negative outcome in their lives…

  • I was hoping for the 2×4 of truth on this one, but the bitchslap landed too softly for me.

    This is an OW letter. She carried on affairs with two married men. Her picker isn’t broken, her character is. To find the emotional manipulator all she has to do is look in the mirror.

    She isn’t the victim here, but like all narcs, is happy to play the part for kibble sympathy. She is a “wounded” “vulnerable” “single-mother.” So am I, but I don’t proposition married men, because it’s wrong and I care about right and wrong. She obviously doesn’t.

    • The only reason she’s a single mother is because she got pregnant from a married guy.

      Kinda thinking I’m not-so-sorry for her there…maybe she wouldn’t be a single mom if she had stayed off a married guy’s dick.

      • Well I don’t know Kara

        My ex AP got pregnant to a married man ( my ex) and it’s all worked out hunky dorey for her .

          • 👍

            To be fair though, I think some of these whores are just fine with a turd as long as he pays the bills. But, regardless she and he both will always know who and what they are.

        • That’s only what you perceive or what they want you to perceive. I knew a cheater couple that everyone thought had a great relationship. They didn’t, they were actually miserable because the cheater husband treated OWife like shit for years but to the outside world they were solid. Until cheater husband found yet another AP and set up OWife to be arrested on domestic violence so he could bar her from their new home in another state. OWife ended up living with her mother in far less desirable conditions. Dysfunctional people do not turn into functional human beings overnight. Their bad behavior is repeated.

    • 👏👏👏👏👏

      The only ’emotional vampire’ here, is her.

      So, we’re supposed to fall over ourselves to show empathy for a narc who fucked two married men, and is now portraying herself as the *victim*? I don’t fucking think so.

      And given she’s shown herself to be a flaming narc who is now on the sad sausage channel, and given, as we all know, narcs and OW *lie*, I would strongly question her tale of the ‘evil therapist’.

      She has shown herself, by her own story, to be a person with no character or integrity, who will happily fuck a married man in order to make herself feel better, and then has the *gall* to write to a blog dedicated to *chumps* who have been betrayed by their cheaters with skanks just like her.

      This bint makes me vomit. 🤮🤮

    • The reason why CL is gentle with her is that there’s a power imbalance in the relationship with your therapist

  • While we’re talking about vampires and other monsters (and I think everyone knows the tune to this one) . . .

    ————————-

    (music by Bobby ‘Boris’ Pickett, lyrics by Frankly Scared)

    I was working on myself, one fine day
    When my flaws put on full display
    When my doctor advertised his crush for me
    I pondered it, then suddenly . . .

    (Chorus)
    (She did the dance) I did the pick-me dance
    (The pick-me dance) I wanted twoo womance
    (She did the dance) And I paid in advance
    (She did the dance) I did the pick-me dance

    Though I’d been abandoned by a drunken twat
    And the fact that Doc was married mattered not
    His words made me feel completely aglow
    Tranference rules, so I should say so . . .

    (Chorus)

    He called me at 5 a.m.
    The cycle began again
    I think I’ll write Chump Lady, ask her how to trust men . . .

  • I just have one thing to say to this obvious OW writer:

    You stop attracting emotional vampires when you stop being one yourself.

    The end.

    • Yeah.
      Frankly Scared, listen to Kara. You know, real vampires do get ticks and they don’t like them. But the ticks don’t make them less vampirish.

  • No, Vampira, you are not a chump. You are the problem.

    I’d tell you to look in the mirror, but vampires don’t cast reflections. There is nothing there to see, which seems to enable your rationalizations rather than engender your curiosity and alarm.

    There is no reflection in the mirror because you are the vampire.

    There is no reflection in your letter, either.

    • PS.

      I think you are also a “standard cheater asshole”.

      Many times when you point the finger, there are three pointing back at yourself. It seems to be the case here.

  • Sorry, but this woman is manipulative and just plain gross. She’s no better than any of the cheaters she mentions here.
    And can we talk about the therapist here for a moment?? Yeah, I know he’s a therapist- but he’s a human being too. They have feelings, emotions, and human boundary problems too. They have affairs too sometimes, they aren’t perfect. If she felt attracted to him, she should have found another therapist. Now his entire career is at risk because of this stupid situation. I have no sympathy for her whatsoever. She needs to get a grip on herself and a life, and stop pursuing men who are not available to her.

    • “And can we talk about the therapist here for a moment?? Yeah, I know he’s a therapist- but he’s a human being too. They have feelings, emotions, and human boundary problems too. They have affairs too sometimes, they aren’t perfect.”

      Oh, please. *If* her tale about the therapist has any basis in fact, he had *agency*, he chose to fuck this skank. Why the sympathy/empathy for a *cheater*?

      I would imagine your rationale for the ‘therapist’ cheater is probably word for word what many of the fucktard cheaters described by most of the Chumps here, would say.

      “I have feelings! I have emotions! (just not for you, chump). I have boundary problems, and the skank took advantage of that, my affair shows my flawed humanity, you aren’t perfect either!”

      FFS. 🤮😭😂

      • “She’s no better than any of the cheaters she mentions here.”

        Neither is the ‘ therapist’.

      • They are both equally as bad. They are both (she and the therapist) cheaters and liars.
        I just think we need to look at therapists/dentists/doctors/ etc the same way we look at everyone else, and not expect some super moral superiority from them. They are just as failable as anyone else ( not really the point of her post,Of course, but it’s a related point I am making.)

        • We absolutely should hold them to a higher moral standard because they are supposed to do that as part of their JOB.

          When it comes to affairs with your patients/clients, it’s not just “Oopsie, we’re fallible!” It involves both ethical and legal consequences. A therapist having an affair with one of his patients isn’t just repugnant on the grounds of being a cheater, he’s crossing legal lines. There’s law violations here.

          When you take on a job as a doctor/therapist/healthcare worker, you take both an ethical and legal obligation to act in a way that is best for your patient. You’re expected to uphold that obligation. Yes, sometimes healthcare workers make mistakes, like, oh we thought it was -this diagnosis- but now we have more information it turns out it’s -this diagnosis- or let’s try -this medication- well it’s not working and we will now try -this medication- etc.

          An affair with one of your patients is NOT a mistake of human fallibility. It’s a willful choice to abdicate your duties as a healthcare provider and disregard the laws surrounding your position.

          Fuck that.

          • Whatever.
            A doctor is a person who did really well in school learning about how the body works. They fuck up too, just like everyone else. Medical knowledge does not mean that you are above fucking up in your emotional/sex life.
            I take your point though.

            • Degrees, qualifications, talents, etc, etc, do not obviate one’s obligation to behave with character and integrity, in all areas of one’s life. And “fucking up in your emotional/sexual life” doesn’t equate to deliberately making the choice to lie and betray someone to get your dick wet.

              We could probably all point to an instance where we fucked up emotionally or sexually, but I would bet none of us here made the choice to lie to, and betray someone.

              Apples and oranges.

            • Doctors are people who are trained and made very aware of violating relationship boundaries with their patients. It is literally part of medical training – you know the part about ethics, sexual harassment, patient care, “bedside manner” if you will. They HAVE to take and pass classes for this in medical school (2 kids in med school). To me a therapist violating sexual relationship boundaries is actually worse (on the level of a predatory teacher). This woman’s therapist’s job was literally to call her out for her relationships with married men and help her with her issues; not add to her “body count” as a willing participant!

              There is a major ethical and possibly legal difference between cheating with a co-worker (doing something immoral) and cheating with a patient(doing something immoral that breaks the professional code of ethics resulting in loss of one’s license or worse).

              • The code of ethics for therapists states the provider is not to have a sexual relationship with a current OR past client. Massive breach of conduct, should be reported and I hope he loses his license. He could have directed her to another therapist instead of pulling his pants down.
                The letter writer is a nutter who needs YEARS of therapy to chip away at her character disorder.

              • I agree, also even co workers (unless you mean equal) have ethics and laws that can kick in. And even equal co workers can have company specific ethics rules in place that can cost jobs. The results of those violations can cost jobs even years down the line, and prison. The Metoo movement has proven that.

                What amazes me is the folks who still do this shit, knowing full well what the consequences can be.

        • I don’t know. I think we can expect more of these people in a professional setting, because they are in a position of trust. You don’t f*ck your patient when you are a doctor, you don’t f*ck your students when you are a teacher, you don’t f*ck your clients when you are a therapist. Those are basic ethical rules of the professions. So there is something a magnitude grosser and more unethical about a person in a position of authority and/or in a professional capacity cheating within that setting than there is about someone cheating in their private life.

        • Umm, no. There is a reason these relationships are illegal or will result in loss of license. Nobody is expecting perfection. Expecting them not to engage in a romantic or sexual relationship with their patient is a pretty low bar. Patients typically tell their therapist all sorts of vulnerable things about themselves and any good therapist isn’t going to do the reverse. Essentially the therapist would have a pretty good handle on all the pressure points thus it’s an inherently unbalanced relationship. This isn’t her hot dermatologist that checked out a weird mole one time.

        • More is expected from licensed people that is why they are licensed. I hope there is someone in ” Franly Scared’s ” life that can raise her child. Her self chosen lifestyle should not be a model for an innocent child.

        • >>>I just think we need to look at therapists/dentists/doctors/ etc the same way we look at everyone else, and not expect some super moral superiority from them.

          Whoa!!! I’ve got to completely disagree with you here. Fucking your patient isn’t some honest mistake, or even a lazy mistake, or any kind of human fallibility mistake. NOT fucking your patient shouldn’t require super-human moral superiority. Her therapists is the one who should have noticed where things were headed and stopped treatment. I’m sure she was a difficult patient, and would have forgiven him many “mistakes” because of that, but not when he crosses that line. Him crossing that line makes me doubt his word, and not trust his word at all.

          I do have one crumb of sympathy for the letter writer; she had a bad therapist. Unfortunately I know how devastating bad therapists can be to patients who are already screwed up.

          Whatever this man’s temptation, he should have never let his “treatment” progress to an affair with his patient. That’s what being a professional means, that’s why he was the one getting paid. He’s supposed to recognize his patient’s bad character, not encourage it. He’s at fault for this worst kind of therapy fail, full stop. Sympathizing with this therapist too much eventually leads to “men can’t help it”, which we all know is the worst kind of excuse for the worst kind of people. Watch out for the part of yourself which feels angry sympathy for terrible people like that therapist (which I’ve noticed is a symptom for a terrible picker).

    • Replace therapist for professor or teacher – and the outrage would follow. Why does the therapist deserve pity and a free pass? HE put his career at risk, he made the choice to flirt with a patient, and to cheat with a patient and he has the education and training – it was his JOB to shut her down and send her to a new therapist. What he did was malpractice and dereliction of duty and really should be a criminal offense. The man should lose his license to practice at the very least.

      • Yup. There is such a thing as saying ‘no, I am married, you are my client, this is inappropriate.’

      • I think everyone is misinterpreting what I said. Or maybe I didn’t make myself clear in what I said.
        I am cautioning against the false notion that therapists/doctors/ medical professionals are inherently more ethical or better people than the rest of us. I know we think they SHOULD be, but I’m telling you that they ARENT. They fuck up too, because they are people. Stop hero worshiping them and putting them on a moral high pedestal, because they are just as capable as anyone else of fucking up.
        Now he will probably lose his license, and his livelihood, while she walks away with no harm done. Sucks to be him! Hope he thinks it was worth it- he has everything to lose, she has nothing to lose.

        • Who here is worshipping therapists and doctors though? No one’s clutching their pearls/dropping monocles in wine glasses that a therapist would dare do such a thing. We just rightly do not see him as the victim here and do not think him losing his license is unfair given the huge ethical breach.

          • Then everyone that cheats should lose their livelihood and career as a result of cheating, because that’s only fair.

            • Phoenix, you’re missing the point.

              A therapist having a sexual relationship with his client, cheating or not, is illegal. This is part of ethical obligations and laws regarding license to practice.

              I’m an EMT. I could get depositioned and lose my license and face criminal prosecution if I conducted any sexual activity with a patient on my ambulance or within a hospital facility. I’m legally and ethically obligated to act within the best interests of the patient and within legal limitations to my scope of practice.

              If I willingly choose to ignore those laws and ethics and do something highly inappropriate with a patient, that is entirely my fault and I was made fully aware of the potential consequences.

              This man, and every other healthcare worker position that involves direct patient care and a license to practice, is made aware of the laws and consequences of violating them. He chose to violate them. Loss of license is one of the consequences.

              The fact he was also cheating makes it more gross, but it’s beside the point.

              • But what if the person was not a patient at the time of the relationship? Should they still lose their license as a result? (Note: I am not this cheater, nor do I have any relationship to the people involved here lol!)
                The cheating is 100% wrong, and I know that. My feeling is that once someone is no longer a patient of the medical provider, you revert to being two consenting adults doing something shitty. There is no longer any sort of “position of power” involved.
                I’m willing to admit that because of the unique nature of the therapist relationship, in that they are providing mental health services and can take advantage of the vulnerability of the patient even after the therapeutic relationship exists, they might be a unique situation.

              • Former patients fall under a grayer area than current patients. It’s still an incredibly fraught situation as the provider cannot use the prior patient relationship to manipulate the romantic one, which could be tricky to prove ESPECIALLY when it’s a former therapy patient. So most professional ethics boards are kinda like eh, not worth the risk. As I mentioned above, hot dermatologist that checked out a mole one time that you ran into later is much much different than a therapist you’ve already divulged some heavy stuff to with no reciprocity.

            • Are you trolling or something? The therapist wouldn’t be fired for having an affair. The therapist would be fired for having a relationship with a client. Their marital status is irrelevant to how damaging violating that boundary is.

            • That doesn’t make sense, Phoenix. The man who cuts my hair has not gotten into a profession that *trains* him to know that it’s professional misconduct to get into a sexual relationship with me.

              My massage therapist mentioned just the other day that he went to a professional development thing where, he said, “they reminded us not to buy insurance from a client if our client sells insurance.”

              Considering that there had been a moment when, months after he disclosed that he and his fiancée had split, I thought he and I might have had a spark, it made me feel very sheepish. Who knows how much was me imagining things and projecting. But I did spend a couple of hours one evening thinking about how shitty it would be to ever explore it. If I gave any signal of interest, and he had returned it, I would know forever that he is willing to cross that boundary with a client.

              When I realized that his professional association trains him to *not even buy insurance* from a client, I also realized that I prefer to presume that I projected any “spark” because I wouldn’t want to continue treatment with someone who’d test out a breach that it is part of their job to know not to do. It made me redouble my efforts to stay in only the most professional of conversations with him.

              As someone who has been on the receiving end of inappropriate encouragement of my obvious transference, I’m puking at the counselor even more than the messed up LW. It took a long time to understand how much more damage it had done to me to have my counsellor semi-flirting with me while I disclosed a history of abuse. I wish I’d reported him.

              I can relate to Mothachumpa — wondering what it is that makes us take on questionable dudes. I don’t know if what you mean by “charming,” M, is that he makes you feel valued/listened to/attractive, but for me the feeling of being listened to was everything, just absolutely everything like I’d finally found a home: it made me overlook STIs, questionable morals, bad credit — I felt like I “shouldn’t judge” when I’d found someone who “actually cares.”

              Still working on my picker.

              For all that, I’ve never gone after a married man.

            • If it violates the ethics of their job that they agreed to then yes, they should. That is why this happens to therapists, doctors, and teachers who screw people considered vulnerable to them when they know for an absolute fact it’s wrong, unethical and they can lose their jobs for it.

              It’s not hero worship for us to expect him to receive the appropriate consequences for his actions which he agreed to when he began this career. Stop making excuses for him. He’s not a victim. His wife is.

        • I don’t think anyone here thinks that therapists and other professionals are “inherently better people” than the rest of us.

          The *point* is these people have *professional, ethical, and *legal* obligations to their clients/patients, which this piece of shit ignored because a skank came onto him – also, if ‘frankly’ is to be believed, he was already crossing the line when he complimented her inappropriately. This is not a person who should be treating people. He deserves everything he gets.

    • No sorry but this is plain wrong. There’s a power imbalance in the relationship between therapist and client, she’s not blameless but he’s in the position of power here. He CHOSE to have an affair btw

    • No. It is not excusable for the therapist. His career is not at risk because of a stupid situation. His career is at risk because of his actions which he knew were wrong and jeopardized his career. His career is at risk because he chose to abuse his wife and violate the ethics he agreed to when starting this career by cheating with a patient.

      She’s an OW and co abuser with no sympathy for the wives she helped abuse. He is an abuser who abused his own wife AND abused a patient. He’s scum and deserves the consequences of his actions just like all the other fuckwits.

  • I think CL handled this with grace, all things considered. Frankly Scared is neither frank nor scared. She is doing whatever suits her and is a cheater asking for us to help.

    Here’s my help: Frankly Scared, if you’re attracted to men, I suggest you get a female therapist that doesn’t ever talk about your attractiveness or hit on you. If she does, find another therapist. Stay in therapy until you recognize that you are a cheater blaming everyone else for your bad choices. Take responsibility. Until then, don’t enter the dating pool.

    • My ex-fuckwit’s whore is a counselor, a family counselor. She was married when she was carrying on with the fuckwit. Her now-ex husband figured it all out before I did. Who knows if he would have told me if I would have listened. I was smoking deep of the hopium pipe and into spackling back then. But supposedly she went to counseling which obviously didn’t help. She had her narrative and I seriously doubt any counselor would have been able to help her see her issues. Frankly scared is of the same vein. She feels entitled to do what she wants and sees a counselor to salve her minuscule conscience. She thinks, ‘See. I am a good person. I go to a therapist to work on ME!’ It’s all about her as it was all about my ex-fuckwit and it was all about his whore. It’s all about them.

    • Frankly Scared is looking for attention and ego kibbles and she is getting some from us.

      • That was my thought too. This narc is getting huge dose of cake and centrality from being published here and us responding. Any attention being good attention and all that. Bah.

  • Sadly I see my FWs OW here and for that reason, I’m glad I read this but PUKE. The IW in my life was a single poverty stricken Mom looking for a a sugar daddy and she found FW who threw me and his family under the bus. She then cheated on him and “broke” his heart. She showed no remorse and he justified himself every way he could. I have recovered pretty much. These insights into the minds of OW makes me think how fragile marriages can be without even knowing it. I never would have thought my FW would cheat. And his accomplice was just looking for a handout. Oh well! Hugs!

  • Sorry I’m a total bitch here but I do believe this is called Karma .

    She had an affair for months and the married man swore he would leave his wife for her and in the end wanted nothing to do with her . That cheers me right up .

    I hope Mrs Therapist took Mr Therapist for every penny and finds her way here .

  • I did just what Velvet Hammer did a few weeks ago after a previous OW/victim letter was shared: I went outside & screamed. Feeling better now although I’m a bit queasy thinking about all the disorded who walk among us.

  • This is quite simple. Don’t get involved with guys that are currently involved, engaged, married or that have problems with substance abuse or addictions. Seek out a reputable therapist. Maybe you need to have a woman therapist because it sounds as if you have a borderline personality disorder. I’m in no way being mean or snarky. Most women would have been reeling from being left in the dust by a cheating boyfriend when you just had a baby. However, you proceed to take him back after he left you, married someone else and also had a child with his wife. You get dumped yet again, but you don’t really care because you are already focused on your married therapist. That didn’t work out and now you want advice on how to repel or ward off bad characters. Well I’ve got news for you, you are also a bad character and I hope you get help, if only for your child’s sake.

  • The entire story of my X Asshat’s cheater saga began because some dumb twit co-worker decided she just “had to” tell him that she had feelings for him, even though she knew he was married with kids. The balding, middle aged Asshat fell for that and kept falling for it at every chance afterward with other young co-workers; it was a high like no other and what he felt he really needed since his life was so boring as he approached 40. He enjoyed the warm feelings he got from young chicks declaring their feelings and so for the following 9 years he played footsie games with lots of them until he finally abandoned his marriage and ruined the family for one of them.

    I honestly believe he had so little self-propulsion that he would not have begun his journey of assholery without someone else making the first move and assuring him that he was viable. Yes, it is ultimately on him and it was always in his character to be the horrid cheater, liar, and abandoner he is, but the monstrous coward would never have begun the trip unless some worthless, ethics-free cheap twat started it for him. He really is that passive and loved to do exactly what the therapist did- make little compliments and be all warm and helpful, dropping chum into the water until the twat took the first bite. Always with plausible deniability but finally assured that he was really WANTED, he was “pulled along more than he pushed” (that was his quote).

    Hey, guess what Frankly Stupid, you don’t “have to” light the fuse on a bomb in the middle of a crowd, even if you really, reeeeealllly feel the selfish desire to do so and watch the pretty flames and see it go boom.

    Grow some fucking character.

    • Surely though we have all been propositioned when unattached? You just say ‘Aw, that’s flattering, but no thanks I’m married.’ Yes, propositioning someone who is taken is pretty low, but it is lower to accept when you’re married!

      • Exactly. I worked in heavy industry with 98% men. I never cheated. It is a moral choice repeated on the daily. It would never occur to me to ruin my family because I got the warm tingly in my down-between because a dude was charming me.

        My Asshat is a low character douche canoe who fell for the personal truths of some morality-free little twitch and it put him on the path he was destined to walk. He totally sucks, in case I was unclear about that.

        I now don’t want to hear from the twitch that she has the sadz, she can fuck right off and learn that actions also have consequences to other people, not just her pathetic self. The center of the universe does not run right through her pointy little head.

        • Same here, I worked for DoD. DoD was stupid with men on the prowl. Asshole I guess never thought that I had turned down offers.

          Both cheater and whore(s) are guilty. The only victim is the one who didn’t get a vote.

          You were very clear about it.

      • Or, “Aw, that’s flattering, but _you’re_ married, and I’m sure you wouldn’t really want to do anything wrong.” 😉

        I used to feel slightly guilty and inadequate when finding myself surrounded by “swingers,” some of whom were friends I otherwise respected and it seemed I was the off one.

        CL and commenters have cured that.

      • Exactly. I have been propositioned several times, but as you say, I just said, “I’m married.” (I’m old now and nobody flatters me anymore.) For the most part, men dropped it. In fact many of them knew I was married and when they flattered, they were seeing if I was going to take them up on their flattery. When I didn’t, they moved on to another woman that didn’t let her marriage get in the way of screwing around on the side. And unfortunately, there are plenty of men and women that don’t let a marriage interrupt their extracurricular activities.

  • A woman denying her behavior, until she finds openings to justify her actions. That will never end.

  • A big TRIGGER letter. I despise people like this, men or women! I had an employee once that totally and obviously threw herself on alot of men. Despicable behavior IMO. I would tell my xh that she was trouble but he along with multiple other idiots loved her attention. After I left the company I ran into her and she said to me (batting her eyes) “I feel like Judus”. Such a phony and long story short after 3 failed marriages she ended up with 9 kids. YIKES and she was cheated on by the last x and she had a breakdown. Boo hoo

    Bad behavior … check yourself people. “Do unto others” seriously

  • So you sleep around with men who sleep around and expect what? A solid relationship? Impossible. Mine was a gray divorce, so I’ve seen a lot.

    There was a secretary at work when I was newly out of college who was like this. She slept around with men who slept around and then wondered why it didn’t last. Her first marriage ended because she had an affair with her husband’s commanding officer. She paid to fix up their houses and/or trucks, and then the ex-wife got the houses and trucks. She had an affair with a customer while working at a satellite office and got sent back to the home office for unprofessional behavior. She had an affair with a manager at work several levels up who promised to leave his wife, but never did. Then she’d cry and ask me why she ended up with all these rotten men. Last I heard, her ex-husband was trying to get sole custody of their kids. Then I lost track of her, and it’s been awhile.

    What I can I say. I picked what I thought was a decent man and married thoughtfully, but it ended in divorce decades later after he took off to do whatever footloose retired males do when they ditch their families. I had completely lost trust in him and refused reconciliation. The manipulation and games during the divorce process told me that I had made the right decision.

  • This letter reminds me of a phone call to our office from the man handling her case. He notified us that she had moved to our small community to get her away from her husband and the druggies they hung with. I had to call him 2 days later to let him know it had taken her a day to find every rat bastard in the area. She was on her way back home the next day.
    So, how did you find two disordered people “by accident”? You let yourself be available. You picked up on their crazy. Theirs matched yours. Until you get some ideas of right and wrong this is going to be your life.

  • I can’t relate to the second part but the first part feels familiar. I was married to the loser but he left me and was in another relationship yet instead of wanting to divorce he kept telling me to wait. I didn’t want to cheat on my marriage and obviously I was believing that he was just “working on himself” so we were still sleeping together and I got pregnant. And then he tells me it was the hardest thing to do was tell his girlfriend his WIFE me! Was pregnant. It was all so stupid.
    So, if anyone is reading this, please help me!
    He is now with a new person, I have since divorced him and moved to another state, thank god. But I want to know why he continues to bother me. Everything was fine going our separate ways— he claims he’s married but there no record of it but wants to assert the girlfriend as the stepmother to my child. He has two kids with each other and that’s when it seems to take an awful turn with OUR coparenting. He refuses to communicate or be civil. He has tried to file numerous things with the court some have been denied and one I won the case. But he has since filed another motion and I am at my wits end. All my money is exhausted and he is literally making me broke like he did when we were married, yet we aren’t even together! I know he’s miserable and just taking it out on me. But how is he getting away with this???? He’s filing false claims and thinks it’s ok. I am a civil person but my kindness has been exhausted as well. Why does he feel the need to destroy me and hurt my child’s future as well? I don’t get it and it’s making me super anxious on what he’ll do next. Everytime he doesn’t get his way because I have set boundaries. He does something more extreme. Like calling the police on me and showing fake texts saying I am ending my life and my child’s, making it so horrible that of course the police would respond….

    Thank you

    • He isn’t taking out his misery on you, he’s getting high off continuing to abuse you. It’s how abusers cope and they’re addicted to it. He justifies this in his mind by telling himself you betrayed him by having the temerity to slip out from under his control. He’s using the courts and the cops to reassert control. He’s probably a sociopath.

      Is there a way you can get legal aid, since you’ve run out of money? Do you have family who can help? I borrowed money off a family member to pay legal bills. He was happy to help. Failing that, you could try a gofundme campaign. That could have the added benefit that publically telling your story (don’t use ex’s name, he’ll just sue you) might cause him to back off a bit if his image is at all important to him. Or it could make him even angrier. He sounds crazy, so I’m guessing it’s the latter. But at least you’d have something to fight him with, and it looks like you’re going to have to fight him for some time no matter what.

      He’s getting away with it because anybody who wants to lie and file false claims against somebody else can get away with it, unless you have the money to sue them for it. There seems to be no other remedy. The police don’t bother to charge them with making false reports. The courts don’t discourage frivolous claims. You are experiencing the unfortunate reality that there is little justice to be found in the justice system. I’m so sorry.

    • Yes, he’s enjoying the power and control from prolonging this. Mine kept using his pricey attorney which lined the attorney’s pockets while getting really very little back from me. Financially it made no sense, so it had to be the emotional payoff. My original attorney’s associate handled closeout for me, so I was paying far less, and at times I just handled things myself after a quick check with my attorney.

      He did finally give up by all appearances. We don’t know why. His attorney got very ill with COVID and died. Maybe he decided that spending money to get at me wasn’t as smart as he thought.

      But yes, the system enables these types of people. I’m sorry that you are going through this.

  • I had a crush on a married guy at work once. My marriage was so so shitty, and he was a run of the mill nice, reliable man. He was everything my husband wasn’t. He was kind to his wife and kid. He had a positive attitude. He was thoughtful, conscientious, and polite. He had a job. Bitch cookie right? He was simply – not an asshole.

    You know what I did?

    Nothing. Never let it show. Kept my distance from him. Looked inside myself to realize the way my husband treated me and my kid was unacceptable. I eventually quit my job, moved away, & separated from my husband.

    I still think about that guy from time to time, but only as a benchmark for the bare minimum I would find acceptable if I ever tried to date again.

  • Susan Polk murdered her therapist husband.
    He “treated” her when she was a teenager, whilst married himself. Treated himself is more like it. They later married. Did cheating set her off ? Who knows.

    • I think he was grooming her, then seducing her and then married her. He should have lost his license to practice. I think she was so full of rage at what he had done to her that she exploded.
      I think her sentence was a miscarriage of justice. People in positions of authority can drive people insane. A psychologist said it can take as little as a week.
      I have often wondered about Betty Broderick

  • Even before being cheated on happened to me, I used to feel funny about men who cheated on their partner. They’d lose all attractiveness in my eyes, mostly because I never thought I was more special than those they cheated on, so what stopped them from doing it to me? So if you’re wondering why you keep encountering assholes there might be a few reasons:
    – An asshole is an asshole is an asshole. No, he won’t change thanks to your magical vagina
    – Men who abuse their power are not a good choice
    – Married men should be off limits. I know, I know. You didn’t promise a thing to their wives and don’t know her etc, but again you’re not more special than anyone else. If he does it to her, chances are he will do it to you once you’re not shiny and new anymore

    Idk if there are men out there worth it to be trusted. I’m guessing yes, but I’m not sure I want to find out anyway. But you certainly won’t if you don’t look inside yourself and try to make a change

    • Yep, my best friend who was also married to a police officer (I will call him Sam) was cheated on and left several times. I knew her and she was lovely and a good wife who adored him. We also hung out a lot as friends before he got real bad. So yeah, no respect for men or women who could do that to another person, whether they had made vows or not.

      Anyway he finally left for the last time divorced her, and she did remarry a wonderful man. They have been together for many years and are going strong.

      I thought I had a good one. Nope, if anything he was even worse. At least her made no bones about being a cad, mine hid a double life from everyone or most everyone, until it all blew up.

      I remember once years before we split he told me that one of the guys (other police officers) had run into Sam at the movies with another woman. After we split, it dawned on me he was talking about himself and likely he and his whore ran into Sam and so now Sam knew. Looking back he confessed a lot, and just put it off on other guys.

  • I learned a couple of important things from listening for years to an addiction medicine specialist on the radio. First time I heard the term “fixing your picker”. He stressed getting a 12 step sponsor where there is no possibility of a romantic or sexual relationship. Sponsors have no professional training or legal obligations unlike a therapist or psychiatrist.

  • I picked cheaters and manipulators too. I went on tinder and honed my picker. Yep kept finding them there too. The problem wasn’t them it was me. So I stopped looking for and needing a man in my life to be complete. Life is great. No cheaters. No manipulators.

  • Franky Scared, there isn’t much frankness or fear in your letter. You’re not being honest and you’re not scared of emotional vampires. You *are* an emotional vampire. After going through the hell of being chumped, you, with a complete lack of concern for the chump you were putting through that same hell, deliberately went after a married man. In your narrative, a completely bogus one, you were just trying to be open with your therapist. As an old teacher of mine once said in response to a similarly preposterous lie from a student; “Oh, balls!”
    You’re a drama addict, FS. Thst’s why you’re continually attracted to jerks. You knew the therapist was inclined to be a pervert and a fuckwit (those creepy comments on your looks told you that) or you wouldn’t have gone after him, but in your narrative he was this wondrous creature, the embodiment of everything noble that a man should be. “Oh, balls!” again.
    You also “reconciled” with a man who was not yet divorced who had just had a child with somebody else. I’m not buying that you didn’t check if he was actually divorced before you took him back. You knew he was a cheater. You’d have asked to see the papers.

    This story reads like a Jerry Springer episode on meth. You come across as a lying liar who lies, FS, and one who seeks chaos, attention and unearned sympathy. In other words, classic OW material. I don’t know why CL is bothering to answer you seriously instead of ripping you a new one. She must be feeling awfully generous. However, it seems that CN isn’t.

    I know it’s probably a waste of time lecturing you. I suspect you may have covert narc tendencies, inasmuch as you’re somehow always the tragic victim of other shitty people in your mind, no matter what shitty things you do yourself.
    But if there’s the tiniest chance that you’re not so disordered that you can’t see how self-centered your behavior has been, it’s worth a shot.

  • This is interesting in the sense that there is really no self reflection. She has helped two men cheat on their wives, has zero consideration or empathy for those wives and doesn’t ask why she keeps helping men abuse women, she asks why she keeps getting victimized by bad people… She even seems to want congratulations for being meh so quickly after being the other woman. Well gee, yeah we know it isn’t hard for cheaters to reach meh, that’s not impressive.

    She’ll put up the act of going to therapy to pretend she’s working on herself but she’s not and just used it as an opportunity to be an even crappier person by helping a man abuse his wife.

    It makes me think of my ex honestly. He’s always, always the victim. No matter what happens it’s someone doing something to him. He’s always forced to do the bad thing. It’s always everyone else’s fault. Our marriage lasted so long because I took so much blame. I thought I was the problem. I was the responsible one willing to look at myself while he faked it and cried victim just like this abusive woman who clearly gets off on hurting other women. That’s obvious. That’s why she keeps doing it. They really are all so similar.

    • Indeed. It’s tempting to think she’s trolling, because it’s hard to believe that anyone is so lacking in self awareness as to come on Chump Lady with this sordid tale of narcissistic faux victimhood. However,
      I have learned that fuckwits really are this self-deluded and lacking in insight into how disgusting they appear to others. I fully believe she thought we were going to be her cheering squad.

  • The subtext is basically “I’m Too Sexy”.

    These damn men won’t leave me alone.

    I knew someone like this: epic vanity, no stable sense of self, string of bad relationships, culminating in sexual relationships with not one but two Catholic priests in succession.

    I talked to this lady. She was convinced they pursued her. I had watched her for months as she stalked the second priest.

    I also watched her then try to stalk two other priests, who thankfully had been given a warning about her.

    But she told me that priests just wouldn’t leave her alone. She was bewildered. How can I stop them? Flutter of eyelashes.

    Disordered.

    • This ^^^

      “I’m so sexy and attractive even my therapist couldn’t resist me — whatever shall I do?”

  • Love the song rewrite, UXWorld, especially this:
    “(She did the dance) I did the pick-me dance
    (The pick-me dance) I wanted twoo womance
    (She did the dance) And I paid in advance”
    Frankly’s writing and lack of proper punctuation makes her actions and timelines ambiguous, probably deliberately, but she wrote she left her ex-fiance “amidst his marrying someone else.” It seems that she’s either misreading or misleading the situation, and he left her for the woman he married.

  • The only victims here are the poor children born to these disgusting people. Why is LW writing to us chumps looking for tea and sympathy? Get lost.

  • Elvira:

    You don’t have a broken picker, you have defective morals. There’s a difference. I see no reason that a good man would want to be with you, and until you repair yourself you will continue to fill your daughter’s life with FWs. We are all very sorry…for your daughter.

  • I feel like people are being a bit harsh to the OP. In terms of the first cheater and father of her child, she clearly says she was already in a long term r’ship with him and had a child with him before he met the woman who became his wife
    “I left my ex-fiancé a few years ago just as our daughter was born (standard cheater asshole) and amidst him marrying and having a child with someone else within less than a year of that”
    So they were already in a committed relationship before he met the wife, how does that make her the other woman? The fact that he ditched her and their daughter in favour of someone else – who it seems likely he was sleeping with while they were together – isn’t her fault. She wouldn’t be the first woman who got played by a charming con artist. So she wasn’t yet married to him, so what? Do non married relationships not count or something? He acted committed enough that they got engaged and had a baby together.
    The next part isn’t clear whether or not he left the wife “I suppose he got tired of her too, and sought to reconcile with me.” I read that as he had left her, but I guess it’s ambiguous. In all honesty though, I’ve read plenty of similar stories on this site where the cheater ricochets from one woman to the other, soaking up all the attention he can, telling plausible lies to soften them up and keep them confused. In a perfect world, we would all model rock-solid boundaries but often that only comes with bitter experience. For many women, if the father of their child says “I’ve left the woman ditched you for, let’s be a family?” Can everyone here honestly say they haven’t been tempted to give their ex another chance or even actually done it? Men like this thrive on playing women off against each other and creating confusion and plausible deniability so they can exploit them even more.
    I agree that the second part of the letter – the affair with the married therapist – does not reflect well on the OP. She should not have told her therapist about her feelings for him and definitely should not have acted on them. I do think though (as many other posters have already pointed out) that a large part of the blame has to fall on the therapist’s shoulders. He’s a professional person who is licensed to deal with the emotionally vulnerable and he abused his position of power. The OP – whilst clearly at fault – was already dealing with the wreckage of her life by the asshole ex. The therapist took advantage of that. If he were found out, he would be struck off and rightly so.
    I do think the OP would benefit from some hard self reflection and needs to examine her own motives and actions, but this is exactly what the therapist was supposed to help her with.
    And no, before anyone says it, I am not her! I just thought the reaction was harsh, given the timeline.

  • I came from a highly dysfunctional family background. I have noted here, on this forum, that the hardest thing for me to do was fix my picker. Harder than being lied to and cheated. My culture had taught me those behaviors were somewhat “normal”.

    I am thankful I was born in a time where I was educated, and trained to expect to work and support myself. This was a major shift from the culture I had been raised in, where men were dominant bread winners, and most women had limited education and never worked outside the home. They couldn’t drive, or vote, and had no money of their own. They were raised to be dependent.

    I was raised to be independent, and this saved me. I was labeled “rebellious” by my father, who wanted the income from a working wife, but still expected subservience from his wife and children. My mother saw to it we were all educated, and able to be independent. This was a quiet act of sabotage in her world, and I think it was her subconscious way of rebelling, without open defiance. I rebelled, and was openly defiant. Oops! Crossed the line.

    Exposure to thought and ideals that were once reserved as “rights” for wealthy white men will change your way of thinking about the world. You know you are not wealthy, or a white man, but you don’t see any reason you cannot expect the “rights and benefits” of being human. This is the reason repressive cultures do not want women, or slaves, to be educated. It raises your expectations. You realize you are smart, and capable, sometimes more so than those who try to repress you. Then revolution occurs.

    I struggled. I made mistakes. Thank God I had a voice in my head that said “You just messed up, correct that.” That voice is my moral compass. I am not perfect, but I strive to be better than other people expect me to be. Not for them, but for me. This is what propelled me through a revolution against a serial cheater in a 20 year marriage, and through a rebound situation when I sought affection and comfort after getting out of the emotional ice land I lived in. I fought my way to cross the border into MEH. It was a long, bumpy ride.

    To do this, you have to accept responsibility for errors you made. Sure, you were trained to make those errors. But the voice said NO, and you took corrective action. It is not your “fault” but it is your responsibility to take ownership of your actions and mistakes. You may have been with a monster, you may have danced, but ultimately you became free and chose not to live that way again. You will not get better if you don’t see the difference.

  • She needs to learn to say no, and to tend to her own biding.
    As long as she’s putting her trust (aka. control over herself, or “power”) into a controlling man’s hands, she will be abused.
    Also yes, she’s bad. Stop doing ugly, dirty things, they are bad for your soul, and also you’re actively destroying someone else’s life……

  • Don’t overlook that this letter writer was not only willing to “reconcile” and have affair(s) with married men. She was willing to reconcile with a DRUNK when she has a newborn.

    In my own experience, there is very little that is harder than getting a drunk out of your house once one moves in. Never, ever, reconcile with someone who is actively abusing substances. If that person wants back in the door, the price is sobriety, a plan to maintain sobriety, and a plan to deal with the root causes on addiction. I wouldn’t even consider dating someone who is under a full year of sobriety–and that’s because without sobriety, the substance abuser has to capacity or availability for intimate relationships. It’s also to keep me out of codependency. If the only negative in this letter was the drinking, that alone would call for a fixed picker and some help figuring out why she would settle for a drunk. And to be sure, I learned all of this the hard way.

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